1941 African American & Black Cinema - The Blood of Jesus

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A landmark in African American independent filmmaking, The Blood of Jesus is a moralistic fantasy adventure through the afterlife. This was the first feature length foray by director Spencer Williams, who utilized an all black cast and a shoestring budget. The result is a look into the life and faith of African Americans in the forties. A pious woman is accidentally shot by her husband, and proceeds to a place in between Heaven and Hell. There she is tempted by the devil to lead a sinful life. She goes from a nightclub to a roadhouse, witness easy money and debauchery. Through these energized scenes, Williams’ abilities as a director shine through the meager means available to make the film. A struggle for righteousness and goodness, The Blood of Jesus is a historically crucial look at African American culture and art during the great depression.

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